The urban and rural poor in India generally are willing to pay for renewables-based and energy-efficient technology such as solar lighting systems and lanterns, pressure cookers, water filters, improved stoves, biogas and household hydro. However, there is currently a lack of retail outlets offering them, and a lack of trade and consumer finance to make the products accessible to everyone.
This project aimed to enable doorstep access to household-level renewable energy and energy efficiency technology in the villages of the Indian state of Karnataka, by applying a sustainable, replicable supply chain business model to RE/EE solutions. Its goal was to set up a network of 15-18 supply chain establishments to provide easier access to the aforementioned technology.
The implementing partner carried out a variety of training programs to identify and help create RE/EE entrepreneurs. These programmes were conducted with the aim to create a layer of enterprises/microenterprises, operating as independent sales and service centres or as business associates working on a commission basis, that would provide on-the-ground distribution of technology produced by larger businesses in underserved rural areas.
The carefully selected participants were connected to the larger businesses for hands-on training and familiarisation with the products, and then moved on to work as technicians or selling agents for the companies. In the next stage the participants were given training on financial products, and those who decided to start their own businesses were provided with further support and help with financing. In total 30 new supply chain establishments were formed, dealing mainly in solar products, and the supply chains for pico hydro and clean cookstoves were also expanded. These new enterprises do not only offer sales and maintenance of RE and EE technology, but also financing schemes to make their products more affordable.